Acceptability of Prednisolone in an Open-Label Randomised Cross-Over Study—Focus on Formulation in Children

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Developing acceptable medicines for children is a complicated task. Several factors must be considered, including age, physiology, texture preference, formulation, and legal framework among others. In the development of new paediatric medicines, these factors are assessed. However, for older medicines, e.g., prednisolone, acceptability is still a challenge. This study was an open-label randomised three-arm cross-over study investigating different formulations of prednisolone (crushed tablets, whole tablets, and oral solution) in paediatric patients with asthma and asthma-like symptoms. Participants were randomised into two different formulations on two consecutive days. For each formulation, the child or caregiver was asked to evaluate acceptability using a modified five-point Wong Baker Face scale. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) model was used to test for significance. For the 41 children, included mean age was 4.7 years (SD ± 3.6), and mean weight was 21 kg (SD ± 10.8). Sixty-one percent were boys. The participants were divided accordingly into three age groups: 6 to 23 months (N = 11), 2 to 5 years (N = 14), and 6–11 years (N = 16). The overall acceptability was low, with only 23 out of 71 scores rating the treatment either 1 or 2 (32%). The ANOVA test showed a significant difference in acceptability score between crushed tablets and whole tablets (p < 0.003). The mean acceptability score for the crushed tablet was the least favourable at 3.9 compared to oral solution (3.1), oro-dispersible tablet (2.8), and whole tablets (2.4). This is problematic in long-term treatment and for the youngest children who cannot swallow tablets. The improvement of age-appropriate and acceptable formulations is necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1236
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • acceptability, drug formulations, paediatric medicine

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